Star Wars fans may want to sit down for this one. While J.J. Abrams has now been onboard to direct Star Wars: Episode VII for nearly a year, solid news with regards to the pic has been very, very hard to come by. As the film’s production start date looms closer, we all knew this was about to change, and last night we learned that Friday Night Lights actor Jesse Plemons is being eyed for a role in the pic. Now THR has dumped a huge quantity of info about the follow-up, including word that Michael Fassbender, Hugo Weaving, and Adam Driver are all being eyed for roles. More interestingly, though, the script for Episode VII has apparently changed significantly since screenwriter Michael Arndt was pushed off the project, and the lead characters for Episode VII may now be the original trilogy stars: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford.
Hit the jump for the Star Wars: Episode VII motherload.
First thing’s first: according to THR, the script for Star Wars: Episode VII has been significantly reworked since Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over screenwriting duties last fall. The official reason given for the screenwriter change was that the Episode VII crew was facing an impending deadline with the film’s December 2015 release date, but THR says the actual reason for the shift was a difference in opinion over which characters to emphasize.
Arndt apparently felt that the main characters of Star Wars: Episode VII should be the offspring of Luke Skywalker (Hamill), Han Solo (Ford), and Princess Leia (Fisher), with the original Star Wars actors taking supporting roles in the story. Abrams felt differently, as he was eager to focus Episode VII on Luke, Han, and Leia “so audiences could have one more chance to enjoy them before a fitting send-off.” George Lucas was also involved in the debate (Arndt wrote the treatment for Lucas before Lucasfilm was sold to Disney), but he deferred to Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy, and with Arndt now completely off the project, the lead characters of Episode VII will indeed be Luke, Han, and Leia while their offspring will take on supporting roles. The plan now is to have the younger characters take over as the leads in Episode VIII and Episode IX.
This is a significant shift from the previous iteration of the project, and some characters from Arndt’s draft no longer appear in Episode VII while new ones are being created. For example, Abrams was eyeing Tye Sheridan (Mud) for a role last year, but the actor is no longer being considered because such a young actor is no longer needed. Additionally, many of the actors that were rumored or auditioned last year have now been nixed, so there’s no telling whether Michael B. Jordan, Alex Pettyfer, or Jack O’Connell remain viable candidates.
So who is in the mix for Episode VII? THR confirms that Jesse Plemons is on a list of actors that will be speaking with Abrams this week, but he is joined on that list by a number of other names. The report notes that Michael Fassbender met with Abrams about a role in December, and Girls star Adam Driver is also being eyed for a role. Additionally, The Matrix star Hugo Weaving met with Abrams to discuss playing an Imperial commander, and producers are also searching for a 20-something female actress who is either of mixed race or black to play either the daughter or granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Personally, I’d rather see a story that focused more on new characters and less on the aging Luke, Han, and Leia, but at the end of the day this is Abrams’ film and if he doesn’t feel comfortable with the story, then the end result will be compromised. Here’s hoping he and Kasdan have found an organic way to have the original characters lead Episode VII.
This is definitely a lot of information to take in at one time, and it’s important to keep in mind that plenty can change between now and when filming begins—just look how much change the project went through over the past few months. However, filming does have to begin by this summer, so expect to hear plenty more about the project in the coming weeks. Star Wars: Episode VII opens in 3D on December 18, 2015.
To catch up on all of our Star Wars coverage thus far, click here. Peruse the recent links below.
- Jesse Plemons Eyed for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII
- The STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Script Hasn’t Been Turned in Yet
- UNBROKEN Stars Jack O’Connell Rumored for “Key Role” in STAR WARS: EPISODE VII
- J.J. Abrams Says New STAR WARS Release Date Is a “Huge Improvement”; Talks Reluctance to Shoot in London
- Confirmed: R2-D2 Will Appear in STAR WARS: EPISODE VII
- Disney Accepting Video Auditions Nationwide for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII
- STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Will Open in 3D on December 18, 2015
- J.J. Abrams Says He and Lawrence Kasdan Took Over STAR WARS Scripting Duties to “Meet Time Frame”
- Rumor: Chiwetel Ejiofor Might Be in STAR WARS: EPISODE VII; J.J. Abrams Wants to Take Franchise Back to Grittier Roots
- STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Team Sought Delay to 2016; Disney Adamant about 2015 Release Date
- J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan Take Over Scripting Duties on STAR WARS: EPISODE VII
- These Four “Rules” Will Not Make STAR WARS Great Again
- Propaganda Poster and Official Synopsis for STAR WARS: REBELS; Rumored Working Titles for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII
- Michael B. Jordan Confirms STAR WARS Audition; Harrison Ford Uncertain about Han Solo Reprisal but Game for More INDIANA JONES